August 20 2014

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Bruce Weber, Carolyn Murphy, and the Dogs of Detroit Celebrate With Shinola



When asked for his initial reaction at the prospect of relocating to Detroit, Shinola creative director Daniel Caudill doesn’t hesitate: “I was totally excited about it! If you think about it compared to New York in the late seventies—it was a place that people wouldn’t go to, and it was a city in transition.” Since launching in 2011, the brand has aimed to play a key role in that transition. At 5,000 square feet (half of that is the brand’s bicycle production), Shinola’s Midtown Detroit flagship has become a de facto neighborhood hangout, complete with picnic tables out front.


So it was only fitting that last Friday, when Shinola feted the first anniversary of its Motor City flagship (and the one-week anniversary of its new, neighboring multibrand shop, Willys Detroit, above), it was with a series of community-minded events—including the sponsorship of Midtown’s first dog park. Four-legged friends and owners alike turned out for the ribbon-cutting ceremony, before wandering the scant few hundred feet over to the Shinola outpost for a preview of Shinola Pet, a new collection of animal accessories. Launching in September, the capsule was created in collaboration with lensman (and honorary Detroiter) Bruce Weber. In addition to American-made leashes, collars, and beds, stationery featuring some of Weber’s canine snaps will also be on offer. For Weber, who recently shot a decidedly city-centric campaign for Shinola, the partnership came organically: “I met Tom [Kartsotis, founder of Fossil and Bedrock Manufacturing, Shinola's parent company], and I liked him so much,” he said amid the fracas of the brand’s Friday night neighborhood block party. “We really saw things the same in a lot of ways, and he felt like someone I could talk to. When I do photographs for somebody, I’m not doing it for a company, I’m doing it for a person.”


The Pennsylvania-bred photographer’s instincts would seem to be spot-on. A bit of serendipitous matchmaking led to Shinola’s decision to tap Carolyn Murphy as its women’s design director. “I had no clue what I was getting into when I was shooting the campaign with Bruce, who’s a longtime friend,” said Murphy. “He pulled me aside and said, ‘I want you to do more with this company.’ I didn’t quite get what he was saying until the second day of the shoot, when he sent me to the factory. Once I had a grasp on what the brand was about, it made total sense why Bruce took his magic wand and said, ‘Here you go, kid.’” The famed catwalker, with her all-American elegance, works closely with Shinola to strike a balance of the feminine and the rough-and-tumble that’s particularly close to her heart. “I’m not going to toot my own horn, but it’s a perfect match. This is my lifestyle, and has been for years. It’s really a cool relationship—the best relationship I think I’ve had in a long time!”

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